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Hepatogastroenterology. 2003 May-Jun;50(51):771-4.

The association of dehydroepiandrosterone, obesity, waist-hip ratio and insulin resistance with fatty liver in postmenopausal women--a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic insulin clamp study.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey.



The relationship between insulin resistance and the occurrence of fatty acid has been documented. Recently DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) was shown to have a protective effect against development of fatty liver in rats. We aimed to investigate the association of nonalcoholic fatty liver and serum levels of DHEA, obesity, fat distribution and insulin resistance and to evaluate the effect of DHEA on fatty liver, obesity and insulin resistance.


Thirteen postmenopausal women with nonalcoholic fatty liver and 14 postmenopausal women with normal liver histology were included into the study. Body mass index, waist-hip ratio, serum DHEA, DHEAS, triglyceride, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance were determined. Fatty liver was determined by ultrasound and established by liver biopsy and histology. Hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp studies were performed.


The subjects in both groups were age matched (p > 0.05). Body mass index showed obesity in patients with fatty liver but not in control group (p = 0.01). Central obesity was present in women with fatty liver (p = 0.039). As expected, insulin resistance was significantly present in patients with fatty liver (p = 0.001). DHEA and DHEAS levels of women with fatty liver were greater than those of control group (p1 = 0.001 and p2 = 0.0001, respectively). DHEA and DHEAS were positively correlated with both body mass index and waist-hip ratio. However, glucose disposal rate was inversely and significantly correlated with DHEA and DHEAS levels.


These data do not support the hypothesis that DHEA or DHEAS protect post-menopausal women against fatty liver, diabetes and obesity. Indeed, DHEA and DHEAS may be the cause of fatty liver, obesity (especially abdominal obesity) and diabetes in estrogen-deficient women.

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